Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Monbiot rant

A vintage piece of Monbiot polemic in the Guardian today damns libertarianism;
Modern libertarianism is the disguise adopted by those who wish to exploit without restraint. It pretends that only the state intrudes on our liberties. It ignores the role of banks, corporations and the rich in making us less free. It denies the need for the state to curb them in order to protect the freedoms of weaker people. This bastardised, one-eyed philosophy is a con trick, whose promoters attempt to wrongfoot justice by pitching it against liberty. By this means they have turned "freedom" into an instrument of oppression.
To a point, Lord Copper. Monbiot names the TPA, the Adam Smith Institute, the IEA and Policy Exchange as leading a libertarian movement that robs the freedoms of the masses, accuses libertarians of being in bed with the big corporates, and imagines that a Big State will curb them. What trite nonsense. We've had a Big State since 1979, and since then the corporates have enjoyed an unprecedented period of growth in complete synergy with government; nothing could be more antipathetic to libertarianism than the oligopolistic corporates that smother free market capitalism, yet government over-regulation skews the advantage in favour of the corporates who can devote entire departments to complying with regulation and against SMEs and mom-and-pop businesses for whom it's an often unsustainable burden. Central Statism and Corporatism are bedfellows. 

The protection of the freedoms of the weak has never been on the agenda of a Big State that has consistently sought to destroy and disempower the horizontal ties of self-help, mutual support, local institutions, the family and community. It's the State that destroyed the Friendly and Provident Societies and mutual insurance by the weak, and a State fearful of the independence of the working class as an alliance of the weak that has systematically destroyed every authentic grass-roots working class movement in the country. Freedom comes through Burke's 'little platoons' , not an authoritarian Rousseau-esque central State that seeks to abolish all ties of blood and belonging in favour of a direct relationship between the State and every powerless individual. 

George, the Leviathan State is not good, is not benign. And as for Clare's Elm, no farmer ever denuded the land as much as a wartime State rapacious for timber for trench props and shell boxes and armed with the power to requisition and destroy without recourse.   


Edward Spalton said...

Complicated regulation certainly favours the big companies. I worked mostly among the small to medium-sized enterprises in the animal feed sector. I was grumbling about regulation to a friend who had left such a firm to join a supra-national company.

"Exactly!" he said "We like this Edward because we have a department to deal with all that. Smaller firms can't afford that and people have to work harder until they get fed up and sell out to us".

IMHO the state education system is geared to producing a high proportion of sub-numerate, sub-literate people with a strong sense of entitlement and self esteem to be "clients" of various social work agencies, staffed by the slightly more literate and numerate. It certainly has that effect and I don't think it has arisen by chance. If "resources" ( i.e. taxpayers' money) could solve the problem, we would have a highly educated, well motivated, industrious population, competing successfully in the world.

Anonymous said...

Is Monbiot, a Toynbee love child?

This piece by Georgie, is straight out of her 'all and anything to do with socialism is benign and altruistic' repertoire.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"A vintage piece of Monbiot polemic..."

And this post is a vintage piece of Raedwald polemic.

Well said sir, few could have put it better.

A reader said...

"Moonbat" suits him down to the ground.

Anonymous said...

Socialism and corporatism are so bloody expensive too…

I reckon the socialists have a point, but it is more a matter of history, when most of a nation's people are illiterate, they cannot see the better educated (Lords and Ladies) making rules that make them more powerful.

I reckon that some of that power (of socialists and corporatists) would wane a bit given the introduction of binding local and national direct democracy, and libertarianism would be a byword for fairness…

Which socialism can NEVER be!

Pointer >>> said...

Mr Old Holborn also has an interesting take on this article.

Greg Tingey said...

Unfortunately, Monbiot has a point.
Look at the corporate oligarchy and plutarchy operating in the USA at present.
Regulation is needed to keep these ultra-rich right-wing crooks ripping us all off.

And yet I agree with "right_writes" oddly enough.

So, you need regulation to be FAIR, and equitable.
Who's up for it?

You MAY wish to read THIS blog-entry - with nearly 300 comments(!)

Very interesting.

Budgie said...

So, the demise of the Grauniad - once 19th century liberal, now statist. And where was Monbiot during the decade long Bliar corporatist government?

Corporates wrongly have too much power not least because they are protected by the state's red tape. But our government directly controls 50% of GDP, and indirectly controls the other 50% via laws which it makes, and taxes.

So it is clear the state wields by far the most power. Monbiot, typically of socialists, sees the mote in what he claims is capitalism's eye. The plank in his own eye prevents him seeing that it is in fact corporatism.

Anonymous said...

The bit about banks is particularly bizarre. Banks only make us "less free" when the state offers them deposit insurance free of charge, making it possible for them to operate on a fractional reserve basis. In the past, libertarians were almost alone in decrying this subsidy.

He's Spartacus said...

The Sans Culottes guillotined one minor French aristocrat too few.